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When to use dun vs. spinner

Joined:
2010/5/13 23:48
From Altoona
Posts: 331
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OK, this may sound like a stupid question, but my friend that I'm getting into fly fishing asked me this and I couldn't really give him a solid answer.

Say for the tricos, when do you use the spinner and when do you use the dun?

I kind of jumbled my words around and muddled an answer. Something like, when you see flies coming down to the water, use the spinner. When they're coming off the water use a dun. Right?

This sounds pretty basic but I've been cramming so much info into my brain about flies in the past four months that the answer has escaped me.

Feel free to call me an idiot if you wish.

Posted on: 2010/8/11 15:17


Re: When to use dun vs. spinner

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2008/1/21 19:15
From Pittsburgh
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The duns imitate the mayflies as they first emerge. They will occur at different times of the day depending on the specific mayfly, time of year, and weather. The duns typically can be identified by their opaque, upright wings. They usually float downstream while they dry off their wings...they look like little sailboats.

The spinners are the mayflies after they've molted, procreated, and are dying. They very typically have clear wings and lie with their wings stuck flush in the water...perhaps with a little bit of struggling. Most fishable spinners "fall" in the evening / last light. You can see them form swarms above the water towards dusk. That's when you start looking for risers.

For tricos in specific...the spinners are much more important in my experience. They are one of the rarities that fall in the morning rather than evening...earlier if weather is warm...a little later if weather is cool. The female duns can emerge during the day, but are fairly sporadic in my experience. The male trico duns primarily at night.

Use the imitation that the fish are keying on. That is where the wing position will help. If the wings are upright as the bugs float, use a dun pattern. If the wings are lying flat in the water, go with the spinner pattern.

This is an oversimplified explanation, but will hopefully give you a starting point.

Posted on: 2010/8/11 15:29


Re: When to use dun vs. spinner

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2008/1/31 17:19
From Pretty much everywhere at some point, Thorndale today.
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David is correct. Different life stages in mayflies. They live most of their lives in the water.

Nymph - anytime. Represents the nymph, i.e. the aquatic bug before it begins transformation.

Emerger - just before or during hatches. Some mayflies molt from nymph to dun underwater, others as they're swimming to the surface, some at the surface, and even some swim to shore first and do it on the rocks! This imitates the nymph as its transforming, obviously its not very important for those that do it on the rocks.

Dun - During the hatch. After the duns get to the surface, they sit on the water and dry their wings before flying. As David said, they look like sailboats floating down, and if you see them in the air, they're usually going up. How long they stay on the surface often determines how much of a rise there is to them, and the emerger activity under water can be important too. It can be a function of species, or weather. Humid, or drizzly weather makes it tougher to dry their wings and they stay on the water longer, thus making more mayflies available to fish at any given time and usually making better fishing. Often its good to use the emerger as the hatch winds up and the dun as it winds down. Or you can do both, using a dun with an emerger dropper, which can be effective. BWO's are my favorite mayfly to fish the "dun" stage, the cool wet weather of March tends to mean they stay on the water a long time, and hatching activity is often quite concentrated right around the warmest parts of the day.

Spinner - After the duns fly off, they go to trees, molt into spinners (mating stage), this can take anywhere from minutes to hours. Then the mating flight begins, and usually en masse. All of the flies that hatched over the course of the day, or perhaps several days, do this at the same time. They dance up and down, starting high, and getting lower as they approach the water, and mate in midair to complete exhaustion. Then they fall on the water, dead or dying, with wings flat to the water (i.e. "spent"). You usually see the masses of mating mayfly's well before they hit the water in any sort of numbers, so you can often prepare some for these events. While the emergence shouldn't be overlooked, the spinner fall is usually the main event for species such as green drakes, sulfurs, slate drakes, and tricos, and its typically why us fly fishers want to be on the water at dusk and walk back to the cars with flashlights after dark.

Hatching activity usually lasts longer than a spinner fall. Spinner falls can be as short as a 20 minutes of fast action. Most spinner falls happen right at dusk.

Tricos are an exception. Emergence of the males happens at night, females right at dawn (just before and/or after sunrise). But the spinner fall is usually more important, it happens mid-morning. The exact timing depends on weather somewhat, but 8:30 or 9 is probably most common, right as the daytime sun starts to hit the water. I've seen it as early as 7 a.m. on hot sunny low humidity days and as late as early afternoon on rainy drizzly days.

Posted on: 2010/8/11 16:03


Re: When to use dun vs. spinner

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2010/6/19 16:43
From Clinton County, Pa.
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pcray1231, I could'nt have said it any better. Good explanation!

Posted on: 2010/8/11 17:25
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Re: When to use dun vs. spinner

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2006/9/21 0:02
From Pittsburgh
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It can be pretty tough to tell when the tricos spinners have fallen.
I just usually fish the dun until they won't take it any more - before switching to the spinner.

Posted on: 2010/8/11 22:36


Re: When to use dun vs. spinner

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2010/5/13 23:48
From Altoona
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I feel pretty pathetic asking such a question. lol. but come to think of it, I haven't done much dry fly fishing for a few months. I've been sub-surface since the last good sulphurs. I usually fish in the am so tricos and maybe some bwos are all i have to work with. thanks guys. much appreciated.

Posted on: 2010/8/12 0:08


Re: When to use dun vs. spinner

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2009/4/1 21:52
From Johnstown, PA
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gochs............friend , there are no pathetic questions , don't be so hard on yourself , if you don't ask you may never know. Personally , when i see the trout line up , right ahead of a riffle , in that smooth clear foot or so before it breaks over the brink , when i see them line up there and begin feeding , i can be pretty sure it's a spinnerfall and i adjust tackle and tactics accordingly.

Posted on: 2010/8/12 5:55


Re: When to use dun vs. spinner
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2006/9/11 8:26
From Chester County
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Quote:

gochs wrote:
I feel pretty pathetic asking such a question. lol. but come to think of it, I haven't done much dry fly fishing for a few months. I've been sub-surface since the last good sulphurs. I usually fish in the am so tricos and maybe some bwos are all i have to work with. thanks guys. much appreciated.



There's no such thing as a pathetic question, now pathetic answers...that's another story

Great info posted above by David, Pcray and others.

Here are two good articles on the subject written by Tom Rosenbauer:

http://knol.google.com/k/tom-rosenbau ... issing/14mzrj4t85lit/115#

http://knol.google.com/k/tom-rosenbau ... -trout/14mzrj4t85lit/120#

BTW, you can never go wrong reading any FFing related stuff written by Tom Rosenbauer. He's my favorite FFing author.

Posted on: 2010/8/12 7:32


Re: When to use dun vs. spinner

Joined:
2008/10/8 0:36
From Florida
Posts: 277
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Being able to read riseforms, the pattern of ripples a fish makes when eating something on the surface, can help you choose whether to fish a emerger, dun, or spinner.

IME so far, fish feeding on either emergers or spinners will sort of "slurp" the flies in, while fish feeding on duns will often break the surface, even just barely, with the tips of thier snouts. This will not be true in every case, but just a general pattern.

Also, when you are not sure which life stage to fish, a parachute-style fly can be a good choice. Parachute-style flies can represent the emerger, dun, or spinner depending on how selective the fish are being.

The fact that you are asking this question proves that you are not an idiot

Posted on: 2010/8/12 10:24
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Re: When to use dun vs. spinner

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2010/8/9 16:23
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Quote:

afishinado wrote:


BTW, you can never go wrong reading any FFing related stuff written by Tom Rosenbauer. He's my favorite FFing author.



+1 for Tom. He's a phenomenal wealth of knowledge and is SO good at facilitating that knowledge to the masses. I think his ability to express his knowledge is what really sets him apart from the masses. His podcast is really great too.

Posted on: 2010/8/12 12:50


Re: When to use dun vs. spinner

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2010/5/13 23:48
From Altoona
Posts: 331
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thanks guys. ill give his stuff a good looking over for sure

Posted on: 2010/8/12 13:05


Re: When to use dun vs. spinner

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2006/9/13 10:18
From LV
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Don't be misled, this time of the year tricos hatch during the daylight hours and can last all day. But for me to go after dark somewhere to fish trico duns, it ain't happening. Now I will fish the tricos but only during the day. And it is usually with the spinner. Most anglers don't bother with the duns. But a good pattern that covers both is to tie a dun, with just hackle, no wings. They work very well tied that way.

Posted on: 2010/9/14 21:10
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Re: When to use dun vs. spinner

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2006/9/11 15:10
From collegeville, pa
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Good advice Goodfortune, Ive noticed this year fish taking the "spinner" before its actually spent on the water. A parachute or comparadun can imitate both.

Posted on: 2010/9/16 8:46


Re: When to use dun vs. spinner

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2006/10/18 15:46
From Patterson twp, Pa (Beaver Falls)
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Quote:

WildTigerTrout wrote:
pcray1231, I could'nt have said it any better. Good explanation!



Pat knows what he's talking about. His conversations in person are just as elaborate too!

Posted on: 2010/9/16 11:54
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Re: When to use dun vs. spinner

Joined:
2006/9/13 10:18
From LV
Posts: 7205
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Let's see Hendrickson spinner falls during the afternoon most times, ditto Quill Gordons, tricos, little blue quills, blue quills, Ltl. BWO's, BWO # 14, many species of caddis fall on the water during the day. This time of the year, unless it's very warm most may flies fall on the water during the afternoon. Most of the summer there are hatches during the evenings, from mid-May until september, but once the cooler evenings come, the spinner falls happen earlier.

Posted on: 2010/9/21 21:18
_________________
It's time to stop stocking all wild trout streams no matter what Classification they are, and time to eradicate brown trout in some of our limestone streams and re-establish brookies in them.






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